EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


November 13, 2013

'A Christmas Story' plus music

“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!”

It’s become a familiar holiday refrain each year as the Parker family makes its way into the living rooms across the country via the 1983 film, “A Christmas Story.”

Next week, the beloved story based on the writings of Jean Shepard will come to life in Boston as “A Christmas Story, the Musical” premiers at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre.

“A Christmas Story” tells the tale of 9-year-old Ralphie Parker, whose only Christmas wish is to become the proud owner of a Red Ryder BB Gun. The musical closely follows the plot line of the movie, including hilarious moments like the unveiling of the leg lamp and a triple-dog dare that ends with one boys’ tongue attached to the flagpole.

Producing such a well-known story has its challenges, said Dan Lauria, who plays narrator Jean Shepard in the musical.

“We’re never ahead of the audience. They know what’s coming,” he said.

In fact, Lauria said that many adults will yell out at the more famous points in the show, like when the box containing the leg lamp appears.

“There’s almost a pride in spoiling it for their kids and showing that they know what’s coming,” he said.

But no surprises doesn’t mean no joy -- far from it.

“Adults always come in with a chip on their shoulder, like ‘What are you doing to my favorite movie?’” Lauria said. “But by the end they tell us how much they loved it.”

Lauria attributes the movie and the musical’s success to the writing and the storyline’s wide-reaching appeal.

“It’s the old art of storytelling,” he said. “It’s a universal story about a son trying to get approval from his father. It worked for the ancient Greeks, so why wouldn’t it work for us?”

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